When is rent considered received?

Written on November 28, 2018 by , updated on December 3, 2019

When is rent due?When it comes to paying the rent on time, all methods are not created equally.

A mailed check, for instance, may be considered received when a landlord receives the letter, not the postmarked date – depending on what your lease says. Online payments may go through instantly and considered received as soon as the tenant initiates the payments. No matter what, it’s best not to push the limits on your monthly rent calendar if you want to avoid landlord-tenant friction, or worse yet, eviction.

The due date is the due date

Although many mortgage companies offer a payment grace period beyond the listed due date, the same is usually not true for rental payments.

If your rent is due on the 1st of each month, for instance, your landlord expects to receive it by the 1st. However, in some states, when the 1st falls on a Sunday and your mailed rent check shows up on Monday the 2nd, this is acceptable.

Read your rental agreement

Some landlords give a grace period, so be sure to read your lease to find out the actual due date and whether there is a grace period. Read this section thoroughly, as it also explains what happens if the payment date falls on a weekend or holiday. This area should also list acceptable payment methods and what to do if the landlord is on vacation, for instance.

Grace periods

Some leases have grace periods, either by law or by preference. A five day grace period means that rent due on the 1st wouldn’t get a late fee until the 6th. However, this does not mean that rent is actually due on the 5th – but that’s the message that is inadvertently conveyed. Rent is due on the due date – please don’t make a habit out of paying within the grace period.

Related: Don’t allow a grace period unless required by law

When you can relax after payment

In person: Your rent is considered received when it’s in the landlord’s office, if you pay in person.

In cash: Get a receipt to prove payment if your landlord accepts cash.

By check: If you mail your rent payments, the “received by” date is when the letter is received by the landlord. Postmark dates don’t matter when paying rent. The IRS allows you to postmark your taxes because the Postal Service is part of the federal government and therefore the government has “received” your taxes as soon as you mail them. But the USPS is not an extension of your landlord, so you need to take into account the mailing time when sending your check. A check sent on time but  returned due to insufficient funds means your payment is late.

Online payments: If you pay via online bill pay, a confirmation email showing proof of payment should suffice.

Paying through Cozy: Paying rent becomes a streamlined process through Cozy. This convenient app allows you to make automated monthly payments on a date you select. It’s free if you connect the app to your checking account, and you won’t have to think about the rent payment ever again. This method is also ideal if you are paid via direct deposit or if you keep enough cash in the account to cover the rent.

Bank transfer considerations

A manual bank transfer is a way to pay the rent, but it’s not the best way (unless you and your landlord use the same bank).

Let’s say you pay via bank transfer performed manually (not automatically) each month. You initiated a payment on September 1, a Friday, for a payment due the same day. Two weekend days follow, then Monday is Labor Day and the banks aren’t open. The transfer doesn’t complete until nearly a week later due to the holiday and bank processing times, which can take three to five days. Your landlord isn’t happy that your payment took so long to show up in their account. Mailing a check probably would have been faster.

Note: The exception is if you and your landlord use the same bank. In that case, the money typically transfers immediately or within minutes.

If making transfers manually, set them up well ahead of the due date to ensure they arrive close to the actual due date. Otherwise, opt for an automatic monthly withdrawal via an automatic clearing house (ACH) to ensure your payment arrives consistently on time. Cozy uses this method.

The one potential drawback to ACH payments: you must have enough money in the connected bank accounted to ensure the payments clear. If you don’t have enough to cover the rent payment when an automatic payment initiates, your account might be charged for insufficient funds and/or your rent payment won’t go through.

Better early than late

Waiting until the last minute to pay rent could spell serious trouble.

Check your state laws to determine how soon the landlord can take action over late or missing rent. Your landlord has a legal right to evict any tenant who doesn’t pay within the legal time frame. Turning in that check a little late more than once could also make your landlord less likely to offer a lease renewal.

Paying a few days early helps eliminate the stress of wondering whether the landlord received your payment on time. It also shows the landlord that you’re a reliable tenant. A stress-free, peaceful rental arrangement benefits both you and your landlord. Ditch the due-date pressure and make your life simpler with Cozy or other early automated payments. Your brain will thank you for it.

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15 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Glenda

    I am trying to find out what is the best way to handle asking our tenant to move out. She is on a month to month, we need to give the extra bedroom to a caregiver for our mother. My mother has Alzeimers & Dementia. We have a roommate in the spare room and are needing to ask her to move out. She has been with us for 5 years. We are also going to be having work done to the house. Our bathroom is needing several repairs that needs work immediately! we also having NEW windows installed and having the kitchen remolded. What is the best way to handle this situation??

  • Becks

    I have a roommate who is renting a room in my basement. He arranged his stay and has done all payments etc. through my boyfriend (who is my tenant). This roommate has never once given me cash. He is now demanding a receipt (4 months later). I don’t have a receipt as I never got cash!

    What do I do? I am the homeowner, not my boyfriend. Does that make me the landlord for this roommate, therefore I need to give him a receipt for money I never received??

    • sunny

      Yes you would be the landlord.Dont mind me asking why in gods name did you have your boyfriend deal with this? If he is a renter as well [odd relationship you have there] makes it even more bizarre. Where did the money go? Who received it and in what form? Your renter deserves an answer as to the receipt question. I realize you might not have thought this would occur, but it has, and, will in the future. Stop this in its tracks by taking control of your property and life.

  • Mariann Flaschen

    My property manager said that the January 2019 rent that was received in December 2018 was to be included in the 2018 1099 to us, however on the monthly Owner Statements, she does not show that in December 2018, so our 2018 rent received shows $1345.00 less than the 1099. If we are keeping a spreadsheet of the income and expenses for each property that we are having managed, how will we know what to put as the correct income for each property if it does not show on the Owner Statement? What is the correct way of accounting for the rents?

    • sunny

      You may want to consult an attorney accountant.The 1099 is what is included in this years taxes. Include the early payment on your next years books as usual. Leave a note attached and the explanation as to why the discrepancy. Its either that or get them to give you a corrected 1099.Which is probably going to be harder to do. Technically they are correct in that the income was received by them in 2018.If you can’t use it till 2019 then it isn’t taxable on this years income but on next years income.[for your taxes].This is another red flag you may have more problems with your management company.

      • sunny

        Money received is different from being able to use it.Especially with taxes. Tax wise its taxable in the year it was received, not when you are able to constructively use it.Rent received in December for both December and January would be taxable for this years taxes even though you might not be able to use Jan rent until Jan. The management company didn’t post Dec rent. This is another reason to have your own separate set of books. Actually two one for receipt and on going total as well as a complete set of books. This is still a red flag to watch your management company though.

  • Tim miller

    Can I change the lease after going to a llc ,because I thought it was my obligation to do so to recognize the llc and to establish the vail

  • Dionne Fox

    Today is the 27th of November.
    My rent is due on the 27th of every month.
    Paid in cash and requested receipts for past 2 payments.

    She wanted to write the receipt saying rent paid for November (her reason was b/c it is being paid in November).

    It is December’s rent. I tried to explain that because it is for the next 30 days and majority of the days are for December it is then considered to be December’s rent payment.
    Please correct me if I am wrong.

    She refuses to listen to reason and insists it is November’s rent.
    I told her, “I am paying in advance for next month, the next 30 days, not days that are in the past.”

    How do I prove it is for the rent for the next 30 days and not for the past 30 days if she writes ‘for November rent


    I set up direct payments to come from my bank account to be paid to my owners bank account , and I have my bank statements to prove it,now my owner is saying he does not see any payments that was made to his account in a year this is ridiculous why would anyone wait a year to see that he never received a payment from my bank I just don’t believe this bullshit it don’t sound right to me especially when I have my bank statements where this money was coming out of my account every month whst should I do to protect myself . THANK YOU , MS.SHEILA DELOACH

  • Tae Johnson

    When my family originally moved in 2014 we signed a lease for a year. The rent is to be sent via certified mail. That’s the landlord’s preference stated in the lease. We send the rent sometimes 2 almost 3 weeks early but it isn’t signed as received until sometimes 2 weeks into the month. We haven’t signed a new lease since 2014. Now the landlord I guess is hard up for $ and wants to use the Zelle application. My husband doesn’t trust this method and is from the old school; money orders. We sent this month’s rent off last week via certified but she claims they haven’t received it yet. The estimated date of delivery as stated on the usps receipt is 12/2.

  • Mike

    This article is not good information. CA law considers rent paid the day its post marked, and if the first falls on a sat sun or holiday allows rent to be paid the next buisness day…..

    Please be sure to present facts from both sides , just not unscrupulous slumlords who want their money early, but refuse to make needed repairs .

    • sunny

      Not all landlords freak out at the post mark. In fact many allow the post mark to be the receive date.Then again these landlords also have grace periods and also usually up keep their property. You have recourse if all else fails .Its called escrow. You must go to court and state the reasons and make sure you have documentation to prove the same. Unless its a serious or life threating repair you will need to show that you have tried repeatedly over a course of time to get the repair done. Make sure its truly needed and not just cosmetic work.

  • Lee

    If I wrote a personal check for May’s rent on the 24th of April, when does she take the check to the bank immediately? Or does she take it on the 1st with all the other tenants payments???

  • Samuel Butler

    As long as she takes it no sooner than the date on the check, she can take it anytime she wants. And how do you know when she takes all the other tenants’ payments? And why does it matter? And if you wrote a check without having sufficient funds in the bank, well, that’s a mistake.

  • Joseph

    I always pay rent on the first. But she texts me at work or comes to my door demanding rent before noon, and then verbally attacks me for not having it on me or leaving work to bring it to her. Is she allowed to do that. Dont i have until then end of the day to still have it technically on time?

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